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HomeBuilder extension announced

The Federal Government has announced an extension of the HomeBuilder grant in a move that’s been widely welcomed by the property sector

On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the extension of the scheme at a reduced rate until March 31.

The HomeBuilder scheme was initially devised as a COVID-19 response, providing $25,000 grants to eligible people building a new home or renovating an existing one.

The scheme had been due to expire at the end of the year but today Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the stimulus package would be extended to March 31, 2021, at the lower rate of $15,000.

Mr Morrison said the extension was expected to lead to another 15,000 construction projects, bringing the total anticipated renovations or builds under the program to 42,000.

“HomeBuilder is a key part of my government’s Economic Recovery Plan for Australia. We’re keeping people in jobs and putting Australians’ dream homes within reach,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s critical we keep the momentum up for Australia’s economic recovery.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Homebuilder program had delivered the stimulus the housing sector needed.

“The sector is worth $100 billion dollars a year to the Australian economy or around 5 per cent of GDP and more than a million people are employed in the sector across Australia,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“The success of this program has not only meant an increase in work on the ground to keep the pipeline of construction flowing but it has also protected jobs in the construction sector as well as across the economy.”

For all new build contracts signed between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021:

  • Eligible owner-occupier purchasers will receive a $15,000 HomeBuilder; and
  • The property price caps for new builds in New South Wales and Victoria will be increased to $950,000 and $850,000 respectively.

In addition, the construction commencement deadline will be extended from three months to six months for all eligible contracts signed on or after 4 June 2020.

The move to extend HomeBuilder has been warmly welcomed by the property and construction sectors, with the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Australia, and the Property Council of Australia all praising the initiative.

Housing Industry Association

“The extension of HomeBuilder is both a step forward for jobs and a step towards a return to pre-COVID levels of home building for the housing industry. Most importantly the extension of HomeBuilder will provide a step up for thousands more Australians who aspire to home ownership,” said HIA Managing Director, Graham Wolfe.

“An extension to HomeBuilder is not only warranted but a necessary measure that will support the Australian economy into 2021 and beyond.

“HIA’s forecasts predicted a significant drop in housing demand in 2021 as HomeBuilder projects finished. This extension will ensure that the demand is carried forward to 2021 and activity will continue throughout the year.”

Master Builders Australia

“The Government’s extension of HomeBuilder shows its ironclad determination to achieve economic recovery,” CEO of Master Builders Australia, Denita Wawn said.

“The Morrison Government knows all too well that a strong building industry means a strong economy.

“That’s why they are making our industry the accelerators of recovery and why they are backing in more than 360,000 home builder and tradie businesses with today’s announcement,” she said.

“Extending HomeBuilder is a giant leap forward towards economic recovery.

“It will generate billions in economic activity, help save thousands of builder and tradie businesses from going under and protect thousands more jobs in the building supply chain.

“Importantly, this move will help create a pipeline of work for commercial construction businesses that build high rise apartments and other medium density dwellings.

“Our forecasts show that their forward work is about to fall off a cliff with apartment construction activity facing a massive 40 per cent drop,” she said.

Property Council of Australia

“HomeBuilder has been the most successful Federal stimulus for the construction industry of the past two decades and has kept hundreds of thousands of Australians employed,” Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison said.

“Its extension will provide thousands more homes and tens of thousands more jobs while Australia prepares for a COVID safe restart to immigration and population growth.

“HomeBuilder saved the construction industry from falling off a cliff earlier this year. But with no substantial immigration likely next year, it makes sense to extend this economic bridge further.

“This is a big win for hi-vis construction jobs across Australia and all the white collar jobs that support the sector.

“The extension of the deadline for commencement is very welcome as it will allow more homes to enter the pipeline and also assist apartment developers provide more housing stock across the country.

“The increase of the price cap for new builds in NSW and Victoria is a sensible move that will give more Australians access to new homes and boost jobs and recovery across the two states that have been impacted most by the pandemic.

“Next year holds many challenges for all Australians including the huge economic activity gap that exists without normal immigration levels growing the economy and creating jobs.

“The government has today extended the recovery bridge to help address that gap and the industry strongly welcomes this extension.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.